These hospitals being set up through the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have 125 ICU beds with ventilators and 375 normal beds each.
The PM-CARES Fund will finance two 500-bed Covid —19 makeshift hospitals in Bihar, the state that will go for assembly elections in October. “The 500-bed hospital at Bihta, Patna will be inaugurated today and the 500 bed hospital at Muzaffarpur will be inaugurated very soon,” PMO India tweeted on Monday.
These hospitals being set up through the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have 125 ICU beds with ventilators and 375 normal beds each. Each bed also has oxygen supply. The doctors and paramedical staff will be provided by the Armed Forces Medical Services, it added.
On May 13, PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund Trust had allocated Rs 3,100 crore for fight against Covid-19. Of this, a sum of Rs 2,000 crore was earmarked for purchase of ventilators, Rs 1,000 crore for care of migrant labourers and Rs 100 crore for supporting vaccine development.
On August 18, the Supreme Court rejected a plea that sought its direction to the Centre to transfer contributions made to the PM CARES Fund for fighting the Covid-19 pandemic to the National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF).
Hearing a petition filed by NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation, a bench headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and comprising justices RS Reddy and M R Shah said that voluntary contribution can always be made to the NDRF. The NGO had claimed the Centre was “refraining from divulging information” about the money “contributed to the PM CARES Fund till date”.
The Centre had on March 28 set up the PM CARES Fund, essentially to deal with any kind of emergency situations, such as the Covid-19 outbreak, and extend relief to the affected. The Prime Minister is the ex-officio chairman of the fund, while the ministers of defence, home and finance are its ex-officio trustees.
After the formation, the Opposition parties, including the Congress, had questioned the need for setting up of such a fund to deal with the pandemic, especially when the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund already exists for such purposes. They also alleged that PM CARES had been designed to avoid audit by the Controller and Auditor General and would result in a lack of transparency about the source and use of these contributions.
Many companies (public and private), individuals and government departments have contributed hundreds of crores of rupees to the PM CARES fund. Companies are also allowed to use their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) funds to contribute to the PM CARES, whereas this facility is not available for the state-level Covid-19 funds set up by chief ministers.